Artist goes online to sell monsters

COOL AUCTION: Anna Johnstone’s drawings are attracting lots of interest on Trade Me.
COOL AUCTION: Anna Johnstone’s drawings are attracting lots of interest on Trade Me.

Nelson artist Anna Johnstone is marketing monsters on Trade Me to raise money for her first solo exhibition.

The 24-year-old's original illustrations, featuring three characters - Wolfman, Swamp Monster and Franken Monster - had 5000 page views in a day after being promoted to Trade Me's "cool auctions" page.

“It's massive. That's like 5000 people that ordinarily wouldn't have seen my work. Heaps of people are asking for the [exhibition] posters,” she said.

The single-edition illustrations were hand-drawn using metallic pen, ink pen and marker on quality A5 paper.

Johnstone's exhibition, So I Heard You Like Monsters, opens at the Bridge Street Collective on August 8 and runs until September. There will be large wooden art panels on display as well as framed artworks and possibly some T-shirts, stickers and paper toys.

Johnstone is no stranger to using Trade Me, Facebook and Twitter to market and sell her artworks.

She is also using her Trade Me account, “spacekitten”, to sell 164 drawings of different dog breeds done in 164 days.

“I think I'm up to like day 100,” she said.

The money raised from her monster illustrations would go towards framing her work for her exhibition and getting some other things printed.

“I just figured it would be a good way to raise some cash. I haven't really seen anyone else with my kind of stuff on there - there are a lot of landscape artists . . . more flowers,” she said.

The auctions close tonight and Franken Monster is proving popular, with 45 bids for more than $200 by this morning. Johnstone, a former Nelson College for Girls student, finished school in 2005 after a gap year in Japan. She dabbled in a few different visual arts, illustration, animation and film production courses at Massey University, Natcoll and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, before deciding studying wasn't for her.

She said her mixed-media art, which she was trying to do fulltime, was influenced by a mash up of different things - such as Japanese pop culture and street art.